Just when you thought it was impossible to fit any more essential mobile apps onto your smartphone two major brands come along and unveil a pair of downloads that really shouldn’t be ignored. And, in doing so, have scored pretty big on the PR and digital marketing front, if you ask us.
First up is Ryanair, which has, to put it mildly, struggled to successfully court the public over the years. From single mothers being forced to pay more cash than they can probably afford to make up for missing boarding cards, to the big bossman, Michael O’Leary, and his frequent diatribes against the ‘idiots’ who fall foul of his company’s terms and conditions (resulting in yet more unforeseen charges), it’s safe to say that when most people think of this particular carrier the following words come to mind: “Well, at least they get you there on time (over 90% of the time, according to the company’s own claims).”
Things have slowly been changing for Ryanair, mind, with falling profit margins and increasingly negative perceptions (especially when compared with those other two cheap offerings, easyJet and Jet 2) forcing the firm to rethink and try to position itself as a friendly option, rather than simply the best value for money. As such it’s no surprise to see a new app being launched that finally gives passengers the opportunity to check-in via their mobile, thus negating the need for a printed boarding pass, and therefore meaning nobody should have to pay extra money when they turn up and realise they forgot their documentation (unless they leave their phone at home, or in the taxi, of course).
With rivals such as easyJet already up and running with a very similar app this is really good business sense more than anything else, although it’s safe to say that the firm will undoubtedly go up in many a frequent European flyer’s estimation with this small but far reaching gesture. Whether or not this also has anything to do with that Spanish court decision in which it was decided that printing boarding cards was actually the responsibility of the airline, rather than passengers, therefore meaning Ryanair has been ‘illegally’ charging people extra money for not having a printed boarding card, is open to speculation.
Elsewhere, and in a completely different industry, we’ve also been rather struck by the concept behind Meantime Brewing Company’s new app. In our opinion the craft beer manufacturer has scored big time against media and PR savvy rivals like Brew Dog- no stranger to marketing stunts- by unveiling a brand new ‘virtual sommelier’ download. When linked to Blippar the programme can scan either the barcode or bottle badge for the brand’s various beverages, revealing an interactive menu of options, including a 30-second video clip in which malt and barley experts impart their wisdom on the viewer, giving information about the taste and make up of the particular beer being scanned, before offering recommendations on food to match those flavours. Hardly life-changing, nevertheless it’s a fantastic idea, one that should prove useful when you’re indulging in some pints, and, considering Britain’s ongoing lager and ale revolution, immensely popular amongst the increasing proportion of drinkers ready to give up on mass produced alternatives.